Allow These Tokyo-Based Films to Transport You to the 2020 Games

The 2020 Tokyo Games may not allow spectators at the sporting events, but these movies will take you to the neon-lit streets of Japan's capital.

By Cydney Contreras Jul 17, 2021 3:00 AMTags

The 2020 Tokyo Games are right around the corner!

While thousands of athletes continue training for their respective sporting events, fans are getting themselves amped up for the July 23 Opening Ceremony, which will be attended by First Lady Jill Biden, by becoming acquainted with the sights and sounds of Tokyo. 

From July 23 to August 8, the sporting events will take place across the city, including the Tokyo Bay and Odori Park, where stadiums have been erected and starting lines are being drawn. 

While Tokyo previously welcomed foreign visitors by the millions, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made the sightseeing process more difficult. In early July, the International Olympic Committee stated spectators will not be allowed to attend a majority of the events, citing a potential surge in COVID-19 cases.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it's relatively easy to be transported abroad, even from the comfort of your couch.

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To see a hand-picked list of movies and one show based in Tokyo, check out the gallery below!

Tokyo Olympiad

Directed by Kon Ichikawa, this film documents the 1964 Summer Olympic Games, which took place after Japan had finished rebuilding Tokyo's damaged infrastructure. It was the first time the world was able to see a post-World War II Japan in all its glory.

Spirited Away

Famous director Hayao Miyazaki tells the story of Chihiro and her parents, who are turned into pigs when they encounter a witch in an abandoned amusement park. Chihiro must work to save herself and her parents, meeting an array of characters along the way.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This 2011 documentary film showcases the work of chef Jiro Ono, who was made famous through his Michelin star restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro. Sushi lovers beware: This will make you hungry.

Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift

The 2006 installment of Fast & Furious introduces viewers to the world of drifting as it follows Tokyo newcomer Sean Boswell (Lucas Boswell). While this was before the crew went to space, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker make an appearance in the movie.

Lost in Translation

Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray form an unlikely bond in this Sofia Coppola movie, which is set in the bustling city of Tokyo. 

The Ramen Girl

Brittany Murphy shines in this romantic comedy about an American woman who is determined to learn to make ramen after a local chef cooks her a meal.

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Quentin Tarantino's bloody movie follows The Bride (Uma Thurman) as she seeks revenge on the team of assassins who put her in a coma. Along the way, she stops in Japan where she intends to kill former friend O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), who is the leader of the Japan's infamous criminal organization yakuza. 

The Grudge

Sarah Michelle Gellar portrays a care worker who is confronted with a curse when hired by an American family. Though the horror movie centers on Americans, the story of Kayako is based on the Japanese legend of the onryo, a vengeful spirit. According to Screenrant, the most popular story of the onryo is Yotsuya Kaidan, which tells the tale of a woman who came back from the dead to kill the husband who murdered her.


Giri/Haji is a Netflix and BBC series that deserves an honorable mention in this story, as creator Joe Barton tells a story of a Japanese detective who travels to London in search of his brother, who is accused of killing the nephew of one of the yakuza's members. The show travels back and forth between the two nations, thus illustrating the differences and similarities in their cultures.

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